[I am either reminded of or inspired by (or both) the poster in Murray's office on Flight of the Conchords that says: "New Zealand! Why not?" So funny.]
So we're up to our ears in green beans lately.
[TANGENT: I wish I could have said "we're up to our ears in corn" instead because that would have been really punny. But we're not. No corn yet from our farm, although I did have a nice cob all to myself at the downtown Minneapolis National Night Out celebration on Tuesday. I always think I don't really like corn until I eat it. It's tasty and gets me to floss my teeth.]
Green beans. Not corn.
I always think I do really like green beans and then I eat them and I am right. They take a few more steps to make than I usually remember - I always clean and trim and blanch and ice-bathe them (okay, wait, actually this time I didn't ice-bathe them) - and in the middle I'm like, "ugh, green beans, I hope they are still worth all this" and then they are. Such rewarding little skinny green things. Mild enough to go with pretty much anything, yet flavorful enough to hold their own. Maybe you should try them with pluots. They make an attractive pair, even when I only have an iPhone with which to document their union.
Green Bean Salad with Herbs, Cucumbers, and Pluots
Yield: 2-3 servings; easily doubled
Adapted a lot from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Healthful Cooking (which is a really great cookbook, FYI)
1/2 pound fresh green beans, rinsed and trimmed
1/3 cup minced fresh herbs: mint, cilantro, basil, chives, tarragon (the mint really makes this wonderful! might be imperative!)
1/2 sweet onion or whole shallot, thinly sliced (ideally a young onion like the kind at farmer's market this time of year)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
Freshly ground pepper
1 cucumber, halved and thinly sliced
1 pluot or other stone fruit, pitted and sliced thin
1 teaspoon red wine or balsamic vinegar
Fill a 2-quart saucepan half full with water, add 1/4 teaspoon salt, and bring to boil. Add the beans to the boiling water and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain.
In a serving bowl, combine the hot beans with your fresh herbs, olive oil, sliced onion, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Season with some pepper. Set aside to cool for 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare your cucumber and pluot. Just before serving, add them to the green beans mixture, drizzle with the vinegar, and toss gently. Taste and add more salt and pepper and vinegar if desired. Serve at room temp, or chill and eat cold.